Giants win as Bumgarner flirts with no-no

A chance at history hung in the chilly Monday night air through exactly six innings and four pitches.

It was that fifth pitch — a 1-2 77 mph curveball, some real strikeout bait — that Justin Upton blooped into left field that ended Madison Bumgarner‘s no-hitter. Yangervis Solarte followed with a single of his own.

This wasn’t the first time Bumgarner danced with history.  With a perfect game on the line last August in Colorado, Bumgarner hurled a fateful two-strike curveball to Justin Morneau, who sliced a gut-wrenching double and ended the perfection.

Tonight’s no-hit coulda-been didn’t ever feel real, though. The crowd seemed naive to the fact, and the no-hitter energy was lacking. Maybe it was because Bumgarner was rapidly approaching 90 pitches mid-game.

Or perhaps it was because three Padres had reached on a Giants season-high four errors. The Giants beat the Padres 2-0 for their fourth consecutive win and second consecutive shutout; the last time the Giants won with so many errors was back in 2012.

The no-hitter didn’t even seem to faze Bumgarner, who was his typical modest self after the game with little to say:

“I was aware of it … Nothing changed (after the hits), I wasn’t worried about losing a no-hitter, it was just about getting the next guy out.”

And he did. Bumgarner struck out two on his way out of the inning. Manager Bruce Bochy thought Bumgarner’s stuff was solid, but was impressed by his performance once the no-hitter died:

“He had great stuff. His fastball, slider, curveball, changeup…I thought the seventh inning was really impressive. He gave up two hits, first and second with nobody out, and settled down…and did a great job.”

A no-no wasn’t in the cards tonight, but maybe the third time’s the charm.

Bumgarner hurled a 7-1/3 inning, two-hit, six-strikeout performance against a Padres club that rocked him for 10 hits and five runs the last time they met.

The last Giants no-hitter was just last year against the same club: Tim Lincecum on June 25. The last perfect game was Matt Cain‘s, in 2012 against Houston.

Two runs hardly warrant celebration, but the Giants looked scrappy as they pieced together some support for Bumgarner.

Let’s get the negatives out of the way. Casey McGehee hit into a MLB-leading ninth double play: a first-pitch, bases-loaded bouncer to short. Fans weren’t having it, and a very audible boo rung out across AT&T Park. Though his performance has been frustrating, Bochy is rightly standing by the veteran, positively noting the contact McGehee is making off the bat:

“I’ll probably give him a break, let him take a breath.”

Part of Bochy’s success with this club stems from his treatment of veterans. No good would come from benching McGehee so early in the season; he’ll come out of the slump or he won’t, but deflating his morale wouldn’t do much good.

The Giants went 2-for-9 with RISP and left seven on base, not awesome, but forced offensive momentum by challenging Padres catcher Derek Norris. Aoki and Maxwell successfully stole second.

The bats tallied eight hits, but could only score in the third thanks to a string of hits and walks from Nori Aoki, Joe Panik, Angel Pagan and Justin Maxwell. The two runs were all the Giants needed to support a big outing from Bumgarner.